ESOH in Acquisition Home

ESOH in Acquisition Home


Environment, Safety, and Occupational Health (ESOH) in Acquisition

The Department of Defense (DoD) is committed to protecting human health and the environment, in an uninterrupted and cost-effective manner, while ensuring the success of its core mission. DoD strives to ensure effective and efficient compliance with all Federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations, and provides guidance to the DoD Components for meeting those requirements, as necessary. Ensuring that the systems acquisition process considers risks and protects human health and the environment is critical to sustaining the DoD mission.

Environment, safety, and occupational health (ESOH) must be considered during the system acquisition process and for the duration of the system's lifecycle. As part of a program's overall cost, schedule, and performance risk reduction, the Program Manager must prevent ESOH hazards, where possible, and manage ESOH hazards where they cannot be avoided.

Crucial elements of an ESOH program include:

  • ESOH planning
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Program evaluation and reporting
  • Risk management
  • Pollution prevention
  • Hazardous materials management.

DoD Instruction 5000.2 establishes requirements for PMs to manage ESOH risks.

This ESOH special interest area is sponsored by the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations and Environment) and the DoD Acquisition ESOH Integrated Product Team. This area details guidance and requirements in Section 4.4.11 of the Defense Acquisition Guidebook and provides best practices for integrating environment, safety, and occupational health into the systems engineering and acquisition processes.

Streamlined Life Cycle Assessment Process for DoD Acquisitions

What does the guidance do?

The ODUSD(I&E) developed a streamlined process to assess the sustainability of system during the acquisition process. It establishes a consistent, practical and flexible method for conducting life cycle assessments (LCA) throughout the DoD acquisition process. It is an overlay on performance. In other words, of the alternatives that can meet performance requirements, the process helps identify the most sustainable solutions with the least impacts.

What is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)?

A method for evaluating alternative resource needs (inputs) to produce, use, maintain, and dispose of a system or product and the resulting impacts and life cycle costs.

Why is it needed?

DoD systems and platforms (e.g., aircraft, ships) can have a life cycle of 30 years or more. Resources are costly and, in some cases, dwindling. Systems must be made more sustainable in order to meet mission requirements into the future and reduce life cycle costs. Without a full understanding of life cycle impacts and costs of systems and platforms, significant impacts and costs are often “pushed downstream” from acquisition program managers to the DoD logistics and operational communities.

What is the expected result of implementing the guidance?

Application of the standard across DoD is expected to result in more sustainable systems – those that use fewer resources and have reduced human health and environmental impacts. Reducing the life cycle impacts directly supports the USD(AT&L) objective of “designing for affordability.”

How is the guidance “flexible?”

The guidance can be used to analyze conceptual alternatives at the system level or inform detailed design decisions of components. There is existing ISO standards for process level LCA. However, this guidance describes a Streamlined LCA process specific to DoD acquisitions. This is an innovative method specifically developed to be consistent with the DoD acquisition system as described in DoD Directive 5000.01. The process provides a procedure, in a series of steps, to compare conceptual or design alternatives and can be applied in a qualitative mode even when data is lacking. The streamlined version developed for DoD can be done with or without collecting additional data and can be accomplished with minimal resources required. However, it ensures that important downstream impacts and costs are considered in decisions.

Where can the guidance be used?

The LCA methods in the guidance can be used by teams conducting an “Analysis of Alternatives”, by developers, or design engineers. The process could be referenced in Requests for Proposals or in contract documents specifying a LCA as a deliverable. The guidance includes an excel-based tool that can be used to complete all necessary calculations.

What elements of sustainability are assessed?

The guidance examines the following sustainability factors: land, air, chemicals & materials, water, and energy. The guidance contains detailed descriptions of the factors and sub-factors and the methods used to evaluate and score for each alternative.

What will “trigger” or activate the use of the standard?

LCA should be integrated into the Systems Engineering process and will help inform trade space and supportability analyses. The DoD Business Case Analysis Guidebook includes sustainability as one of the elements that must be evaluated in a business case. The guidance describes “how to” do this evaluation using two alternative LCA methods.

DoD Guidance

New guidance is being developed to describe how a sustainability assessment, used in early conceptual and design decisions, can help design more sustainable systems, those which use less resources over the life cycle, have reduced impacts on human health and the environment, and thus have lower life cycle costs. A sustainability assessment allows more robust and informed trade space and supportability analyses

DoD Sustainability Analysis Guidance - Draft pdf [1.55 MB]

This draft guidance introduces the concept of a Sustainability Analysis. It provides detailed guidance on how to complete such an analysis and how to use the results to better inform tradeoff, design, and supportability decisions. Subject to final approval, this guidance can be used on a trial basis by all Departments and Agencies within the Department of Defense (DoD).

DoD Sustainability Assessment Guidance - Appendix I Scoring Factors xls [1.66 MB]

Upstream and Downstream Scoring Factors and Cost Factors for the DoD Sustainability Analysis Guidance.

Overview of the Department of Defense (DoD) Sustainability Analysis Dataset pdf [6.38 MB]

This presentation provides a detailed overview of the Department of Defense (DoD) Sustainability Analysis Dataset which is used for the Sustainability Analysis as described in the guidance document. The data set for the analysis are stored in AKO at:


Life Cycle Analysis of Chemical and Chemical Processes doc [82 KB]

Objectives of a Meeting organized by the National Academies of Sciences on Life Cycle Analysis of Chemicals and Chemical Processes.

Use of Life Cycle Assessment for Alternative Fuel Analysis pdf [453 KB]

This article addresses the second component of the Air Force's strategy and the following specific goal: By 2016, be prepared to cost competitively acquire 50% of the Air Force's domestic aviation fuel requirement via an alternative fuel blend in which the alternative component is derived from domestic sources produced in a manner that is "greener" than fuels produced from conventional petroleum.

Addressing Emerging Contaminants in Acquisition pdf [496 KB]

Making better risk management decisions and investments enables the Department of Defense to expedite and sustain systems acquisition; protect people; maintain operational capabilities; and minimize the likelihood of unanticipated future costs—ideally avoiding such costs altogether. Faced with growing public and governmental interest in environmental issues, DoD is committed to improving its understanding of emerging contaminants and acting early to manage them and other chemical risks. DoD defines emerging contaminants as chemicals or materials that have evolving science (e.g., beryllium); new or unknown exposure pathways (e.g., trichloroethylene and nanomaterials); and new detection capabilities (e.g., perchlorate) that can be reasonably anticipated to lead to regulatory changes.